Friday, January 25, 2013

The Now and the Not Yet

"things which must shortly take place"
Revelation 1:1

When my Awesome and Amazing kids were little, I used to have a bunch of old magazines for them.  Not for them to read, but so that they could cut out pictures if they ever wanted to make a collage for school or just for fun.  They used to love doing that with animals, for instance.  When they were very, very little, I would help them make little collages to focused on a specific color, to help them see all the red or blue or yellow in nature.

And then early last summer, I realized, as I was cleaning out a closet, that no one had made a collage in a long, long time, and we were probably done with that phase of childhood.

I don't really think teen-agers go for that sort of thing, and if they do, there's probably an app for that...

So I went through all those old magazines, pulling out articles I wanted to read again, and maybe a few I thought my kids would want to read, and then I discarded the rest of the magazine.

So now I have a large, ginormous stack of articles to read, out of magazines that are as much as ten or fifteen years old.

The articles are no less interesting than they were the first time I read them.  Most of them are informative articles, about nature or places or people in history.  So they aren't exactly cutting-edge, but I still am enjoying them, and learning from them.

As a matter of fact, in some cases, it's even more interesting to read an article that was written ten years ago, because of what has changed since then.  For instance, I just read an article about Jamestown, Virginia, that was written in 2005.  It was about the amazing finds that archaeologists are uncovering as they have come to a better understanding of the exact location of the fort the settlers built.  For a long time, historians have believed that the fort was under the James River, but in the late 1990s, they realized they were wrong, and much more of the artifacts are accessible (with a lot of digging) than they thought possible.  Little by little, they've been finding articles, and drawing new conclusions about the Englishmen and Native Americans who lived there.

So in 2005, there were interesting things that had been discovered.  But reading the article in 2013 means that much more has been accomplished.  So I can go online, and find an even more up-to-date information.  Information that didn't exist when the article was written.

I also read an great article about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots in the United States military.  There's really not much new information about the history of these heroes ~ they've been duly celebrated for years now.   But the article was written shortly after the establishment of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in 1998.  There wasn't much to it, it was just plans.  But now it exists, and I can see the finished product online (or visit, which I hope to do someday).

It's a little as if I'm living in the future.  I mean, I guess I am.  I have knowledge that didn't exist at the time of the writing.  I know things that hadn't happened.  I know how things have turned out.

So.  When's the last time you read the Book of Revelation??  Because you, too, can approach the future with the knowledge of someone who's been there.  The scroll and the Lamb... trumpets, angels and the dragon... tribulation, woes, and the beauty and glory of the New Jerusalem.  It's all there. 

The Bible is a wonderful combination of history, life application that applies to now, and prophecy.  And that information is not just there to entertain us with creatures more fantastical than anything Dr. Seuss ever came up with.   And I know a lot of people think Revelation is daunting, and hard to understand.  I totally agree with them, despite having studied it and even taught parts of it.  Though we may not comprehend all of it, we should still be reading it. 

Life has enough surprises; why wouldn't we want to be as prepared as possible?  And while Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that there are secret things that belong to God, there are also things He has shared with us.  So get in the know!

~ "Blessed is he who reads
and those who hear the words of this prophecy
and keep those things which are written in it;
for the time is near" ~
Revelation 1:3

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